Tuesday, April 05, 2011

 

3 Impressive Outbound Calling #Fails to Learn From

Guest post from Craig Rosenberg, leader of the Focus Expert Network at Focus.com

This post is about calling people for the first time (both cold calls and lead follow-up).

I think as you get older, you get more calls and you get more intolerant of people wasting your time. I have always been sympathetic to the prospector; I know all too well how many times I have tried to get through the door (or someone who works for me has tried).

Here is my problem: There is so much information out there to help you, you should not suck at it. Here is how you should think about it: What is an irrelevant, canned message in the world of email? Spam. Do you want to spam the VP of a fast-growing Internet company? I didn’t think so.

Training, messaging, and professionalism are more important than ever.

What follows are some memorable #fails I have experienced recently.

#Fail 1: Groundhog Day
A woman - who, incredibly, has held the same job for two or three years - has called me once every three months. For clarification, I told her the first time she called that I was not the person she needed. Out of sympathy for the cold-caller, I even gave her the name of the right person. That person still works for Focus.com and is still the contact. Nevertheless, every three months she leaves me a series of voice mails, acting as though we have never talked. It's the same pitch every time.

After a year or so, I started to answer. She says the same thing to me, and I tell her the same thing. It’s amazing. I now answer when she calls, just so I can see if she is going to pitch me again.

The bottom line: This is embarrassing, and the company she represents is killing their brand if she is doing the same thing to everyone else. Not only that, my guess is she is calling VPs, which means the company is damaging its reputation with decision makers.

Lessons learned:

#Fail 2: Insult the prospect
I once did an interview with a CEO from a unnamed company. The next day, someone from the same company called me to find out “what my (fill in the blank) needs were.” I said, “Dude, you have to be kidding me. Go to your blog. That's ME being interviewed on your blog." His reply: “Awesome, so what are you needs?” #fail.

Lessons learned:

#Fail 3: The incredibly bad follow-up to a “how to follow-up” offer


The irony of this story was too good to not mention. Someone had tweeted about a white paper by a company who had studied lead follow-up. For me, that type of information is worth filling out a form. On the form, there was an open notes field where I typed in: “I no longer run inside sales team or have any responsibility in this area. I am a blogger who is interested in the info.” The voice mail I quickly received was a canned follow-up to talk about their company and their products. The timing of their follow-up was good, their message and approach was bad.

Lessons learned:

Thanks for letting me share these #fails with you. What #fails have you experienced?

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